Spark Capital, a Boston-based venture capital firm, and Softbank Capital, the Japanese telecommunications provider’s investment arm, has injected $2.5 million into Talkspace, a startup providing affordable anonymous mental health therapy through mobile texting and the Internet.
The idea is to enable patients to text anonymously with a licensed therapist as many times as they want. Talkspace provides the service on a pay-as-you-go plan for $49 per week, $25 per week paid monthly, or $12 per week paid annually, according to a report by TechCrunch.
Talkspace co-founder Roni Frank said that the treatment for mental health problems suffers high costs and stigma. Plus there is a huge mismatch between the demand for help and the supply of talented therapists. And instead of one-hour-a-week sessions, what patients need is on-demand care.
Oren Frank, Talkspace co-founder and CEO, agrees, saying that 50 million Americans are being referred to a therapist every year, but less than one-third are receiving the help they need. Talkspace sees that the general public is underserved and attempts to make therapy effective and widely available.
Already the service, which began in 2012, reached 50,000 patients and has 40 professional therapists. Recently the company developed a new app that can provide the service through iPhones or iPads. Besides an injection of funding, AOL President of Video Ran Harnevo will join the company’s board.
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